Alumni Scholarship Recipient Check-in

Nedgyn Laloi, EHS ’20: Thanks to English High, She’s Excited About Her Future

Nedgyn Laloi

In March 2020, EHSA announced that Nedgyn Laloi, EHS Class of 2020, was the recipient of the Stella and Emmanuel Mavridis Scholarship. Recently, we checked in with Nedgyn (pronounced Nayjean) to see how things are going in her second year of college.

Sak pase?
That’s ‘What’s up?’ in Haitian Creole.

In 2016 at age 15, Nedgyn (pronounced Nayjean) Laloi came to America with her mother and younger sister to rendezvous with her stepfather, where the family hoped to build a better life.

The family followed in the footsteps of millions of immigrants who had arrived in the previous 200 years. But life had been especially tough in Haiti.  A series of hurricanes around 2008 left 800,000 in need of humanitarian aid and was followed by a devastating 7.0 earthquake in 2010 that killed 250,000 and left 1.6 million homeless.

Nedgyn says, “We had a tough life, but my mother was always an inspiration. Although learning a new language was difficult, giving up wasn’t an option. To start a new life in the US, I had to learn English. Every day I challenged myself to learn at least five new words and also to teach my mother and my little sister new words. Lots of new doors were opening.”

After spending a year at another high school, Nedgyn entered English High in her junior year. “I was terrified! Not just because of the new language, new school, new country – but it was the first time I saw snow or was cold. But everything smelled so fresh and clean. Now I love Winter.”

At English High, Sage Marsters, Director of the Alumni & Friends Tutoring Center (supported by The English High School Association) took a special interest in Nedgyn: “Ms. Marsters understood me, helped with my assignments, English language, and college applications. I loved the Tutoring Center where I learned that EHS wants every student to have a plan.”

Through EHS’s Technical Pathways Program, she got a unique introduction to Health Assisting & Wellness. At EHS, she joined the band, learned to play flute and piano, and was active in JROTC. In an effort to give back to her community, since 2019 she has been a volunteer with EHS Team Exceptional helping individuals with disabilities.

EHS Guidance Counselor Christina Calderón also was helpful: “She made me feel welcome and gave me great advice. She encouraged me to enroll in hard classes that I thought I couldn’t do — but she believed in me.”

Since the pandemic had taken hold, EHSA President Mike Thomas presented her scholarship award to Nedgyn on a snowy day March.

In her senior year, Nedgyn’s essay ‘Strength After Storms’ won the Stella and Emmanuel Mavridis Scholarship. This scholarship program, administered by the English High School Association, was endowed by George Mavridis, whose father immigrated to America from Greece in the 1920s. Like Nedgyn, it was at EHS that Emmanuel learned English and fine-tuned the work ethic that enabled him to thrive in a new country. The lessons were transmitted to George, who, after his retirement from a long and successful career, decided to give back with an endowed gift of $200,000 to support the Tutoring Center and annual  scholarships. The amount is symbolic as it came as EHS marked its 200th birthday as America’s first and oldest public high school.

Thanks in part to that financial assistance, Nedgyn is enrolled at Bay Path University where she’s studying to be a Physician’s Assistant. Her younger sister, an EHS senior, also dreams of being a Physician’s Assistant.

She says, “Moving from Haiti to America taught me to always have faith and inspired me to help kids back in Haiti who are in the position that I was in. I tell them to have ‘strength after storms.’ I persevered through many challenges, but I learned you can’t  give up because when you want something, you have to work for it. No matter where I go, I have faith in myself that I can accomplish whatever I need to do to reach my goals. I think everyone should go to English High.”

Today, when friends ask ‘What’s up?’ Nedgyn smiles, and says, “Sak pase? I’m excited about my future.”

EHSA President Mike Thomas said, “This is a wonderful success story and could not have been possible without George’s and the alumni financial support. We want to have many more such success stories so please make a donation to the EHSA 200th Anniversary Fund.”

Make A Gift to the English High School Association

Read more about the Stella and Emmanuel Mavridis Scholarship Program

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